Prevalence of Myofascial Pain Syndrome in Chronic Non-Specific Neck Pain: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Descriptive Study.

Chronic non-specific neck pain is a frequent complaint. It is a recognized medical and socioeconomic problem and a frequent cause of job absenteeism. In recent years, case reports about myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) are emerging among patients suffering from pain. MPS is a regional pain syndrome characterized by myofascial trigger points (MTrP) in palpable taut bands of skeletal muscle that refer pain to a distance, and that can cause distant motor and autonomic effects. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of active and latent MTrPs in subjects suffering from chronic non-specific neck pain through a population-based cross-sectional descriptive study which was carried out from January 2012 to December 2014 involving 224 participants. Participants were examined by a physical therapist to determine the presence of MPS. Pain descriptions from the subjects and pain body diagrams guided the physical examination. The subjects were not given any information concerning MPS or other muscle pain syndromes. All participants presented with MPS. MTrPs of the trapezius muscles were the most prevalent, in 93.75% of the participants. The most prevalent active MTrPs were located right (82.1%) and left (79%) in the nearly-horizontal fibers of the upper trapezius muscle. Furthermore, active MTrPs in the levator scapulae, multifidi, and splenius cervicis muscles reached a prevalence of 82.14%, 77.68%, and 62.5%, respectively.

MPS is a common source of pain in subjects presenting chronic non-specific neck pain.